Spice Up Your Spring
Local restaurants introduce new menus, cocktails, and specials.
Boudin wontons and brie and jalapeño stuffed shrimp at Arnaud’s
Sara Essex Bradley Photograph
Food is a favorite topic year-round in New Orleans, so this month we’ve checked in with some local favorites to see what’s new this year and what to look forward to during Mardi Gras and early spring.
For the first two months of the year, Bayona has revived its “Ooh La La” three-course lunch with complimentary champagne every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, ending the last Friday of February. If you can’t get to Paris for champagne and dejéuner, look to the Ooh La La menu, which puts a local spin on the French midday meal, adding a bubbly component to a refined yet casual weekday lunch. The affordable meal from world-renowned chef Susan Spicer rings in at only $26.
“Why let the champagne end with New Year’s Eve?” says Regina Keever, Bayona Events Coordinator. Keever offers that the Ooh La La lunch is the perfect way to start off a happy new year in the French Quarter in Bayona’s 200-year-old cottage or, when available, out in the courtyard.
On Sundays in the French Quarter the Jazz Brunch at Antoine’s continues to please both locals and visitors alike with its extensive brunch offerings. These include the Huîtres en Coquilles à la Rockefeller, oysters baked on the half shell with the original Rockefeller sauce created by Antoine’s in 1889, and Crevettes Remoulade, boiled Louisiana shrimp served cold in Antoine’s unique Remoulade dressing. Post-appetizer, offerings include decadent omelets, traditional brunch dishes and entrées such as Trout Amandine, Grillades and Grits and Shrimp and Grits.
Additionally, the three-course Sunday Brunch Special offers a choice of crab cake appetizer or fresh spring salad to start; a Poached Egg Cochon or Soft Shell Crab Florentine entrée; and a creamy cheesecake dessert with a complimentary mimosa, all for $31 exclusive of tax and tip and for parties of 15 or less.
To experience a Jazz Brunch any day of the week, head over to The Court of Two Sisters, currently celebrating 50 years under the proprietorship of the Fein family, now in their third generation of family restaurateurs. Believed to have become a restaurant shortly after Prohibition, The Court of Two Sisters was acquired by Joe Fein Jr. in 1963. Since then, the Fein family has maintained the legacy of the property’s history and reputation.
The daily Jazz Brunch buffet, offered 9 a.m.-3 p.m., presents a vast selection of hot and cold dishes, from made-to-order omelets and Eggs Benedict to pancakes, cocktail or remoulade shrimp, seafood and pasta salads, desserts and more. The afternoon’s sampling include Creole jambalaya, turtle soup, Duck a l’Orange and Shrimp Etouffee in addition to egg dishes.
The Creole à la Carte Dinner at The Court of Two Sisters is served from 5:30-10 nightly, and features salads and hors d’oeuvres in addition to creole entrées such as Corn Fried Des Allemands Catfish, Shrimp and Grits, Seafood Stuffed Filet of Trout and Trout Meuniére or Amondine.
This year, Ralph’s on the Park celebrates its 10-year anniversary. Ralph’s has played host to numerous Carnival-themed events and celebrations over the last decade, and this year pastry chef Brett Gautier, alum of the prestigious Inn at Little Washington in Virginia, is handcrafting individual King Cakes for diners during lunch, dinner and brunch, now through Lundi Gras on March 3. Each personalized brioche-style King Cake is flavored with cinnamon and topped with a sugar glaze, and each comes with Louisiana Strawberry Preserves and Cream Cheese Icing in small jars on the side, allowing two people to share one cake and customize it with every bite using the housemade spreads.
Theatergoers can enjoy pre-theater dining at Ralph’s on the Park for the Broadway New Orleans Series at the Saenger Theater. Enjoy an early three-course meal and a limo bus ride to and from the theater for $55 per person. Additionally, according to chef Chip Flanagan, Ralph’s is proud to now feature Prime Beef from Lockport in specials offered at lunch and dinner.
Café Adelaide invites all for “eating, drinking and carrying on” by joining Café Adelaide’s Cocktail Club, with a February “meeting” on Saturday, February 15. Join the cocktail club by filling out an application in the restaurant and you’ll be privy to special discounts, exclusive events and all things cocktail at Café Adelaide and the Swizzle Stick Bar. The February 15 meeting is a cocktail-paired brunch called “Bad Cupid,” but according to Samantha Fritz, Community Manager at the Commander’s Family of Restaurants, “We promise everything you try will be good!”
Additionally, Café Adelaide chef Carl Schaubhut intends to honor his Italian heritage and that of New Orleans with a special St. Joseph’s Day altar and special dishes throughout March. Café Adelaide is a sister restaurant of Commander’s Palace and is named for the Brennans’ beloved Aunt Adelaide, who personified the avant-garde cocktail culture of New Orleans in the late 1950s and ’60s.
Traditional mussels and french fried potatoes at Broussard’s
Drinks are also a main attraction at recently renovated Broussard’s in the French Quarter, where a new happy hour has been introduced in the Empire Bar and courtyard. Happy hour features drink specials alongside Moules et Frites seven days a week 4-7 p.m.
“We are excited to present the traditional mussels and french fried potatoes during happy hour,” says classically trained and Alsatian-born executive chef Guy Reinbolt. “With several options to choose from, we encourage our guests to share so you can try them all.” The menu of moules ($7 per bowl) include four choices: Marinières, Fra Diavolo, Creole or Forestière. The pomme frites are $4 per basket and include Traditional, Creole, a la Corse or Broussard.
Head bartender Paul Gustings will serve Imperial Punches, daily glass wine specials and the traditional absinthe service. Four Imperial Punches, which are $7 each, are hot bottled punches made fresh daily and served while they last. The absinthe service ranges from $5 to $7 and is available only from its traditional 5 o’clock hour until 7 p.m.
A few blocks away, the French 75 Bar at Arnaud’s also delights cocktail connoisseurs with its array of premium spirits and seasonal drink menu by master mixologist Chris Hannah. The French 75 Bar also offers light bites 6-10 p.m. nightly and features Boudin Wontons, Brie & Jalapeño Stuffed Shrimp and Oysters en Brochette, among other dishes.
Arnaud’s is a popular Valentine’s Day destination, and according to restaurant proprietor Katy Casberian, the dining room will be overflowing with hearts and romantic decorations. A special lovers’ dessert will be featured.
While Fat Tuesday is in March, February will see numerous Mardi Gras celebrations, parades and events. Mardi Gras is a fantastic reason to gather with friends and family in the French Quarter, and Arnaud’s, with decades of experience hosting events of various sizes, remains a popular private party destination.
Braised lamb shank with butternut squash, pistachios, satsuma and sage at Restaurant R’evolution
At Restaurant R’evolution, the joint venture of award-winning chefs John Folse and Rick Tramonto, a new early spring menu has just been introduced.
“Every month at R’evolution we challenge the culinary team to create innovative dishes for the season,” says executive chef John Folse. “For the spring menu, sous chef Jana Billiot created the Cauliflower and Camembert Bisque garnished with Hazelnut and Chervil; executive sous chef Eric Veney created Braised Lamb Shank with Butternut Squash, Pistachios, Satsuma and Sage that’s drawing rave reviews from our guests; chef de cuisine Chris Lusk cooked up an Asian-inspired fish dish: Hoisin-glazed Grouper with Blue Crab Pho and Thai Basil. Not forgetting the pastry department, pastry chef Erin Swanson created a ‘Champagne Cocktail,’ which consists of Frozen Grapefruit Mousse, Violet Macaron and Brochette de Aqui Granite.”
While the soup is offered on the lunch, brunch and dinner menus, the Braised Lamb Shank and Hoisin Glazed Grouper are available for dinner only.
Take advantage of the Mardi Gras mindset and get your fill of these fabulous dishes and cocktails available this season. Eat like a king now, for Lent is just around the corner!
Antoine’s: 713 Saint Louis St., 581-4422, Antoines.com
Arnaud’s: 813 Bienville Ave., 523-5433, ArnaudsRestaurant.com
Bayona: 430 Dauphine St., 525-4455, Bayona.com
Broussard’s: 819 Conti St., 581-3866, Broussards.com
Café Adelaide: 300 Poydras St., 595-3305, CafeAdelaide.com
The Court of Two Sisters: 613 Royal St., 522-7261, CourtOfTwoSisters.com
Ralph’s On the Park: 900 City Park Ave., 488-1000, RalphsOnThePark.com
Restaurant R’evolution: 777 Bienville St., 553-2277, RevolutionNola.com